This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
The World Series begins Tuesday night, and while this used to mean that DFS baseball was done for the season, that is no longer the case.
There are a few changes to the scoring system in the Showdown slates. Hitters are rewarded for sacrifice flies and sacrifice hits, which is not the case in the Classic format.
The bigger differences come with pitching, where multi-inning relievers can become useful plays in certain scenarios, since holds and saves are rewarded, and reliever innings are worth 3.9 points (1.3 points per out) compared to starting pitchers' standard 2.25 points (0.75 points per out). Reliever strikeouts also receive a bump, earning 3 points each compared to the usual 2 for starting pitchers.
There is also an extra bonus for a 10-strikeout game (two points for 10+ Ks), but that is increasingly difficult to find with the heavier bullpen use by most managers during the postseason.
Unlike Showdown slates for other sports, there is no "captain" designation for MLB.
The Red Sox are a -150 favorite and the over/under total for Tuesday's game is 7.5.
The Starting Pitching Matchup
Sale hasn't pitched since Game 1 of the ALCS, a game in which his average fastball velocity was 92 mph and he topped out at 96. A stomach illness (not caused by frequent removal of a belly-button ring) hospitalized Sale during the series, but the Red Sox's ability to close out the Astros in five games made his availability for Game 6 a moot point. Sale's velocity was down in September as well, which raises legitimate concerns about his overall health, but nine days off between appearances might help.
Kershaw bounced back from a rough outing in Game 1 of the NLCS with an excellent performance in Game 5, firing seven innings of one-run ball and allowing just three hits while piling up nine strikeouts. He also recorded the final three outs in Game 7 to close out the Brewers, fanning a pair of batters in a scoreless frame.
Against left-handed pitching in 2018, the Red Sox have a trio of "elite" hitters based on wRC+.
Despite his high placement in the lineup, Andrew Benintendi carried an 84 wRC+ against lefties during the regular season. Ian Kinsler was average or better against lefties every year from 2006 through 2016, but he's fallen to a below-average mark in each of the last two seasons (93 and 87). At third base, the Red Sox haven't got much from right-handed backup Eduardo Nunez (71) or starter Rafael Devers (63). Both catchers struggle in this split as well (Christian Vazquez - 63, Sandy Leon - 26).
If Max Muncy gets the opportunity to start (he started twice against a lefty in the NLCS, but one of those matchups in Game 5 was a one-batter outing for Game 6 starter Wade Miley on his throw day), he's been productive from a power standpoint (.529 SLG) against lefties despite a 30.3% K% this season. His 141 wRC+ is the third highest among Dodgers hitters (min. 50 PA) in 2018.
It will be interesting to see if manager Dave Roberts gives Matt Kemp (124) or Brian Dozier (59) a start Tuesday, though the latter's overall struggles this season might outweigh his high volume of chances to face Sale in the past when both players were in the AL Central.
Enrique Hernandez (113), Chris Taylor (108) and Austin Barnes (101) are all a tick above average against left-handed pitching in 2018, which could send Yasiel Puig (70) to the bench along with Joc Pederson (38), and makes it easier for Roberts to lean on Barnes behind the plate after Yasmani Grandal's defense (106) was a major issue throughout the NLCS. The Dodgers will also get to add one hitter (likely David Freese) to the mix as their DH with the series opening in Boston. Freese had a 140 wRC+ against lefties in 2018, and he's posted a mark at or above 125 in that split in eight of the last nine seasons.
I'm curious to see how much Sale's $15,000 price tag (highest on the board) steers owners away, especially given the aforementioned velocity concerns. Kershaw costs $1,000 less, and doesn't have the same health-related concerns right now, which might prompt more teams to build around him with a group of Dodgers bats. Using Kershaw immediately builds a narrative that he's going to pitch well and get a win, which makes pairing him with Kenley Jansen ($3,100) for a save and a shot at double-digit points at a low price a risk worth taking. He's picked up at least 9.3 DraftKings points in each of his postseason appearances this season.
A Kershaw-Jansen duo leaves more than $8,000 left for each of the remaining four lineup positions, making it relatively easy to pile up most of the Dodgers' bats you like, stacking around Justin Turner ($7,700) and Manny Machado ($9,400) in either direction.
Going Boston heavy, All three $10K+ pieces (Sale, Betts at $10,2000 and Martinez at $10,000) can be stacked with Kimbrel ($3,200), leaving $11,600 for the final two roster spots. Discounted pricing on Steve Pearce ($6,200) will drive his usage through the roof, but there is enough money left to check the box of using a Dodger with Austin Barnes ($4,400) if you want to go all in on the elite Boston hitters. This build will likely be the chalky pro-Boston approach, so looking for ways to finesse things a bit, Xander Bogaerts ($8,600) and Andrew Benintendi ($7,400) become more interesting since interest will be concentrated on Betts, Martinez and Pearce.
Pairing both starters require these use of at least one reliever, and with an expected pitcher's duel in that lineup build, it might be wise to throw in a heavily-used part of the bridge to the closer of choice in the matchup (i.e. Ryan Brasier for Boston or Pedro Baez for Los Angeles), which opens up more flexibility for the two bats in your lineup.
Relatively speaking, the best values on the hitting side are Justin Turner ($7,700) and David Freese ($6,800), especially since they're two of the Dodgers' best options against lefties. Freese carries a lot of risk as a player who will likely head to the bench for a pinch-hitter when a late-inning righty-righty matchup against a Boston reliever arises. Austin Barnes' $4,400 price makes him extremely puntable, and easily stackable from the bottom of the order with a 9-1-2-3 or 9-1-2, 9-1-3-4 combo depending on how the final lineup is assembled.
Based on price, Pearce ($6,200) is the best value on the Boston side, and it's not very close. Benintendi's high spot in the order is very affordable ($7,400), but he's facing the toughest matchup of the prominent Boston bats having to go lefty-lefty against Kershaw to open the game. He only makes sense in a rather aggressive anti-Kershaw narrative, or as an unusual standalone play opposite a Dodgers stack.